On the last Wednesday of every month, I serve up a potpourri of advice, inspiration and other tidbits I've come across in recent weeks. In honor of National Poetry Month, celebrated every April, I'm sharing thoughts on poetry and language. And with this, a salute to my friend Cristina Trapani-Scott, whose poetry chapbook, The Persistence of a Bathing Suit is due out from Finishing Line Press next month.
Plus this month's bonus: a preview of the fairy house Ray and I built for the second annual Enchanted Forest event at Camp Newaygo, coming up this weekend (April 29-30), and the story we co-wrote to go along with the house.
Poetry comes nearer to vital truth than history.
The poet lights the light and fades away. But the light goes on and on.
-- Emily Dickinson
A poem is not simply words on a page but a way of touching the stars and having the stars that have fallen into the sea touch us. Our lives are poems. Everything arrives and passes away as it should, and we don't know the ending--which is the moment the entire poem, its meaning and music, is revealed--until the last line is written, even though it has perhaps existed in the eternal now all along.
-- Sawnie Morris, in Poets & Writers magazine, November/December 2016
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
-- Leonard Cohen
Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.
-- Roland Barthes
As a poet and writer, I deeply love and I deeply hate words. I love the infinite evidence and change and requirements and possibilities of language; every human use of words that is joyful, or honest, or new because experience is new . . . But, as a black poet and writer, I hate words that cancel my name and my history and the freedom of my future: I hate the words that condemn and refuse the language of my people in America.
-- June Jordan
Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.
-- Dylan Thomas
But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
-- Lord Byron
Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement . . . says heaven and earth in one word . . . speaks of himself and his predicament as though for the first time. It has the virtue of being able to say twice as much as prose in half the time, and the drawback, if you do not give it your full attention, of seeming to say half as much in twice the time.
-- Christopher Fry
Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.
-- Adrian Mitchell
All the fun's in how you say a thing.
-- Robert Frost
And now for something completely different . . . it's time to unveil our creation for this year's Enchanted Forest event at Camp Newaygo. Once again, the design is based on a story featuring Fairy Archie and his sidekick Hughie the Humongous Butterfly. It'll probably make more sense if you read the story first. (And if you missed last year's installment, you can read it here.)
Be sure to come back next week for more fairy house pictures and a full report on the Enchanted Forest event.
Written from the heart,
from the heart of the woods
Read the introduction to HeartWood here.
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski, a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray.